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Driver’s Ed Car: 1954 Plymouth Belvedere

Back in high school, did you take driver’s education classes prior to getting your regular permit? I took it over the summer of 1970 before starting 10th grade and, having my learner’s permit, it was a blast. But those were regular dealer cars, not ones fitted with two steering wheels and controls. This 1954 Belvedere was fitted for two drivers and still wears that hardware today. Located in Crest Hill, Illinois, the seller purports that it has less than 12,000 miles on it, although the car is not in pristine condition. It’s available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $12,954 but the reserve it still hanging out there. Ikey Heyman, you’ve done it again!

In 1954, the Belvedere replaced the Cranbrook as the top Plymouth model. It held that position as a full-size car through 1964 when it became an intermediate for 1965. The nameplate was retired in 1970 in favor of the Satellite. All Plymouths used a 230 cubic inch inline-six, rated at 110 hp, with a manual transmission, like the seller’s car. But a 2-speed PowerFlite automatic became available mid-year. Out of 431,213 Plymouths built that year, 32,492 were Belvederes. There is no record as to how many of these cars were fitted for having two drivers up front.

Driver’s Education was conceived to supplement knowledge obtained from driving handbooks and to prepare students for their tests to obtain a driver’s license or learner’s permit. And it’s still going on today. Key to this education, besides the classroom experience, was in-car instruction that placed a student in a vehicle alongside an instructor. Said car may or may not have been fitted with dual controls, with pedals and other controls on the passenger side. This 1954 Belvedere appears to have been set up this way, although the seller does not mention if you can still drive it from sitting behind either steering wheel. Once retired, we believe most of these cars reverted back to single driver status.

The seller says, “this car doesn’t need much description,” but I beg to differ. I, for one, would love to know the history of this car and how it came to have under 12,000 miles on it, if accurate. He goes on to say it’s “one of a kind” but is that really true? Was only one yellow and white ’54 Belvedere set up this way? The body generally looks good, with a few little nicks and dings that may have been added by some rookie teenager behind the wheel back in ‘54. There is no mention of rust and none seems to be apparent, while the seller says the paint is original. So, this car must have been stored indoors for most of its 66 years on Plant Earth.

The matching interior looks good with the only work that might be needed is installing new carpeting, as the original floor coverings are long gone. We’re told the car runs and drives great, but doesn’t stop so well, so a rework of the brakes would be in the cards. Hagerty says a ’54 Belvedere is worth between $6-22,000 depending on condition. This one is probably “good” but that’s below where the bidding is. Is the driver’s ed novelty of the car worth a premium and – if so – how much of one? What would you do with such a car other than clean it up and take it the Cars & Coffee? It would certainly draw a lot of attention!


  1. Howard A Member

    Everybody has a drivers ed story, can’t wait to hear them. It was the only class I got straight A’s in. I’ve never seen a dual steering wheel one, but videos show, they did exist. Pretty much gone by the 70’s, and the cars just had a brake pedal for the teacher. Being from Milwaukee, ( John Marshall HS, 1972) we had AMC cars donated by the local dealers. The abuse those vehicles took, convinced many of their quality, something Rambler fans knew all along. Naturally, everyone wanted the Javelin, but “settled” for the Gremlin. I like the car, but I’d probably get rid of the steering wheel, might want to keep the brake pedal, though. Also, I believe Drivers Ed has long been cancelled, as a school program. 15 years ago, when my kids were able to drive, they offered a written part, but I had to take them out on the road, or get a school. Remember the AMC ads?

    Like 19
    • Al

      I had an uncle that owned a driving school that owned 6 of these in 1968 Camaro s. I know one still exists, and it’s a rag-top, as one of my cousins owns but seldom drives it. The other 5 were not rag-tops.

      Like 16
      • Mark Paakki

        The only Driver Ed, I got was on the farm

        Like 15
      • Howard A Member

        Right on, Mark, farm boys made great truck drivers. I’m one of them, sadly, as the farms disappeared, or became more mechanized, we have to TEACH someone how to drive a truck today, often with disastrous results.

        Like 16
      • Al

        @Al, try & get a pic, be interesting to see. Prior to driving, used to always watch dad drive, the light turns yellow, he’d floor the Cadillac’s 500 or Lincolns 460 & make it before red. So I was conditioned. My spanish teacher was my driver ed teacher. Never forget the light turning yellow & me flooring it & him slamming the brakes & it’s power braking as neither is letting off lol. He’s yelling ‘STOPPPPP’ & I’m ‘GOOOO’ I’m like ‘it JUST turned yellow, plenty of time’ but of course I got the long lecture. ‘If you can floor it, you can stop’ he’d say. ‘But then I’d be late’ I’d say. Became a cop 7 yrs later & never ONCE gave out a ticket for lights, Cali stop sign stops or speed. Unless an accident & one at fault had no ins. That’s it. Too busy with real crime than to play AAA cop.

        Like 10
      • Rick C.

        Would love to see a picture of that.

      • Patrick Drew Farmer

        The only drivers Ed I got was on an Air Force Base.

    • Chris A

      I don’t have many memories from mine, other than we used the “pair of slippers” era Ford Taurus. Not even a pedal for the teacher. My wife however, never took driver’s ed. In New Hampshire, you don’t need a driving permit and if you’re over 18 you don’t even need to have taken driver’s ed! I taught her in a school parking lot down the street and practiced backing into a space so many times she burst my power steering reservoir. She got her license first try too! Fast forward a decade or so and she’s never once parallel parked.

      Like 1
      • NW Iowa Kevin

        Chris A, I’ve known this for several years and am completely flabbergasted as to why the state is so utterly irresponsible. Yeah, I know live free or die is your state motto. ” New Hampshire is the only U.S. state that does not by law require adult drivers to wear safety belts while operating a motor vehicle.” I hope you and your loved ones DO wear yours. In a heavily wooded state with virtually no straight roads and with lots of wildlife the odds of crashing are high, too high. Be safe.

        Like 4
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Seat belt law or not, I would say that just as many people wear seatbelts in NH as any other state. Just because it is a law doesn’t mean that more people abide by it. Everyone I know here wears a seatbelt, and many wear also wear a helmet when riding their motorcycles.
        Yeah, I see a lot of accidents on our twisty wooded roads – NOT! I see plenty more when vacationing in Florida and visiting relatives in Georgia.
        And as far as Drivers Ed is concerned, virtually every kid takes it, it is heavily promoted in school. And don’t forget, there is still a driving test to pass, so don’t think that someone who has never been behind the wheel before is just going to show up and get a driver’s license.

        Like 3
    • Little_Cars

      My high school Driver’s Ed cars were a fleet of base model 73-74 Ford Torino sedans in dark blue. Major blind spot out the back windows in those years. They were fitted with the two steering wheels and controls. My instructor loved to stomp the brakes any time a student did something wrong.

      Like 5
    • chris Gockel

      Omg , ours was a baby blue 81 chevy caprice 4door , I already had my hardship license so I drove to school in a 64 coupe Deville. Got out of my car and went to the coaches office got keys to caprice and we to pick up the coach at his apartment, then it was a drive back via the Shipleys , up untill that stop he slep in the passenger seat , lol I just sat in back set for rest of class while othe 3 kids drove .

      Like 3
    • Herb

      Thank you, Howard, for starting this chain of comments. 84 of them! Still six days to go on the eBay sale. One of us should buy this thing and figure out how to hold a drivers-ed reunion. Anyway, thanks all. Great accounts/memories. Herb

      Like 4
  2. Ocphan44 Member

    I took Driver’s Ed in summer school two months after I had gotten my regular driver’s license on my 16th birthday. The purpose? My parents got a reduced rate on my insurance, which they paid, of course. Once I showed my license to the instructor, we spent every class cruising Newport Beach and Balboa Peninsula ogling girls. My best summer school “class” ever!

    Like 30
    • bry593

      In Driver’s Ed, I got to drive once for a few miles and the rest of the time sat in the back seat scared for my life. You see, I learned to drive on a riding mower, then a go-kart and a ’60 ford pickup… all before I had a my 14 yo motorcycle license. The instructor could tell I knew how to drive, but the other people needed some experience. Driver’s Ed was a real disappointment.

      Like 9
    • Bill Potts

      Do you remember the “Zoo”drive in?

  3. dlong

    Back when I turned 16 in Ohio (1978) you had to take be 16 years old and take a written test to get your learners permit.Then you had to take an approved driver’s training school to get your driver’s license.My Mother wanted me to take college prep classes and not waste my time taking a semester of driver’s Ed in School.she even offered to pay for the private driver’s Ed classes that my neighbor gave.I was more than happy to do just that and had my driver’s license exactly 30 days after my 16th. birthday!I already knew how to drive having driven three on the tree and 4 speeds from an early age.My neighbor that had the AAA approved driver’s Ed school had a full sized 4 door Plymouth fitted with a brake pedal on the right side.

    Like 6
  4. Scott Marquis

    First day of behind-the-wheel Driver’s Ed came with 16″ of new snow. Our instructor took us to an empty parking area, and said “Go nuts”. Brilliant way to get us comfortable with slipping, skidding and correcting. Not to mention a few donuts.

    We inevitably got stuck, and learned how to get loose. Never feared snow after that.

    Like 39
    • Phil

      Much better than the snow day I had. We were at the old-old Midway Stadium in Saint Paul ( the replacement one has been demolished some years back ). We were all turned loose solo in furnished cars and instructors were mixed in driving different cars. I was coming through a 180 and gave the station wagon I was driving a bit gas to get it sideways. Instructor waved me down.

      “What the hell do you think you are doing?”
      Practicing recover from a skid.
      “Listen to us, and you won’t be getting in any skids.”

      Right. In Minnesota. Even as a 16-year-old, I realized that this was nonsense. We’ve come a long way.

      Like 4
  5. Jason

    My driver’s ed car was a ho hum 1990 Chevy Corsica. It only had its original steering wheel and pedals from what I can remember.

    Like 3
    • Pete R.

      We also had a Corsica as well, about the same age and maroon in color. Was in 1995 but the car was already older, from a local used car lot. The other kids in the class had a much newer Neon. The Corsica was a pile of crap didn’t seem to run right. Good times.

      Like 1
      • Phil

        The City issued me a brand-new Corsica when I ran the residential-rainleader-disconnection program. The driver seat made my tailbone hurt. The boss, an ex-military Irish-Cajun, was annoyed when I told him I didn’t want the car. He said I’d have to drive one of the old crappy Pontiac Phoenix cars we got from the State. The Phoenix suited me fine. It started no matter how cold it was in the Public Works lot.

    • Oregon_Guy78

      1989 Chevy Corsica 4 cyl here as well

      Like 1
  6. JRHaelig

    Nowadays they’ve replaced driver’s ed with “parking ed”. Classroom only. Statistics show marginal success with that program.

    Remember the seat belts that put themselves on? Maybe that’s the kind of thing they need for this other safety gear…………..

    Like 2
  7. Arby

    My wife would love this…

    Like 34
    • Jeffo

      Put steering wheel and pedals in the back seat for my mother in law. She would love that.

      Like 17
  8. chrlsful

    local makes his living this way AND “Yes” there’s a 2nd wheel in some of his late model cars (3, 4 ford fusions – 2012s I think). Still have both driving class & 2 wheels. Lookin in I don’t remember a gas peddle but I did C the 2nd wheel & a brake peddle. Was throttle on the column?, can’t remember but hada a wheel’n brake peddle~

    He also has big break lghts on top back corners & “Student” all over the rigs. Blessings on him as I burned out a clutch teachin my now 34 & 24 y/o daughters.

    Like 4
  9. Roger Pence

    Prototype Tesla auto-driver from 1954.

    Like 5
  10. Herb

    My DE car was a 1964 Ford 4-Door (blue, if I remember correctly). I took class in the summer at Crawford HS in San Diego. Already had my license — possible then — and took the class for an insurance discount. The teacher was a coach I knew well. He asked me to drive first on first day. I probably drove a couple of miles. He was satisfied and the rest of the summer I just rode along — never drove again. My fellow students had no prior driving experience. One of them experienced a flat tire on our first drive. We were a bit isolated and no cell phones. That’s when we discovered that the car — almost new — had neither a spare tire nor a jack. Eventually another teacher came looking for us when we hadn’t returned to school in time for the next set of drivers. If I got this (I won’t — I don’t need another collector car), I’d keep it just as it is. A great historical survivor.

    Like 6
  11. Skorzeny

    I did my driver’s ed in an early 80’s Cavalier if I recall. It just had a second brake pedal. One day me and two other students drove off with Mr Rabens… we were to rotate through to get our wheel time. Well, Mr Rabens fell asleep. We all decided to just keep driving. About 15 minutes later he woke up, slamming on the brakes. We needed up stopped, and all freaked out. We just proceeded on as nothing had happened. Will never forget that.

    Like 5
  12. b-rad jeepster

    I cmae from a small suburban school and we didn’t have much of a budget so we had to use the same car for drivers ed and sex

    Like 32
  13. Will Irby

    Aha! The perfect car for those who have spouses who like to “help” drive!

    My driver’s ed car was a ’67 Barracuda notchback; it didn’t have dual controls, but the instructor kept a cane handy in case he thought emergency braking was required! I was a Chevy guy back then, but I had a 340-powered ’66 Valiant for my senior year high school hot rod in ’72, and subsequently put the 340 in a ’65 Barracuda in ’78. I still have that one, so maybe the driver’s ed car was prophetic.

    Like 12
  14. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    This is so Cool!
    Note the 3-speed column shifter is on the left wheel only, although I think I see a clutch pedal for the instructor.

    Driver’s Ed was mandatory for new drivers in my family. Taken as a summer school class, ’67. I can still recall the instructor’s face, but for some reason not his name… Same guy also taught the typing class I attended the year before.
    He had a brake pedal, but no other controls. Don’t think that he ever had to use it when I was behind the wheel. We spent a few hours in the classroom, but mostly were on the road, three students taking turns in the left front seat. AM radio on, and the instructor didn’t seem to mind a bit of volume. I specifically remember listening to the Doors’ “Light My Fire” and the 5th Dimension’s “Up, Up, And Away”. Mid-60’s full-sized Chevy, probably a Biscayne, municipally/school system owned. Great memory, just a little fuzzy for some reason…

    Like 8
    • Johnny


      Like 1
      • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever


  15. Graham Line

    That was Mr. Reardon. Genial, soft-spoken guy who lived a couple of blocks down the street. Good instructor. ’65 Chevy four-door drivers’ ed car which was odd to me because I hadn’t driven anything with an automatic up until then.
    My son did a Sears driving school over one spring break, and then a weekend skid school at Portland International Raceway.

    Like 1
  16. Brent

    How does this work if you get pulled over for speeding? Does the police officer write two tickets? One for each front seat occupant?

    Like 8
  17. Jim ODonnell Staff

    Nice find Ikey and a great write-up Russ!

    I too took driver’s ed. in 1970 and practiced on a new ’70 Dodge Dart. It only had an instructor side brake pedal that was attached to the driver’s pedal via a bar. It was uneventful training.

    What I wonder, is how is the extra steering set-up attached? My thought is a second steering box in place of the idler arm. Does anyone know? Funny, but I never gave that concept a second thought until I saw this post.

    Like 7
    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      Jim, I had the same thought. How did this work mechanically? And when did these mostly become a relic of the past?

      Like 2
  18. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    My story has some similar components to DayDreamBeliever’s story. The song was “Dancing in the Moonlight” by King Harvest, which was a hit in late 1972. Our car was a new 1973 Galaxie 500, green. The class was administered by our small rural school district, and taken during school hours. I don’t remember much about the driving itself, but I do remember….

    That the instructor was ***THE*** coach at the school, and he had a big ego. My driving class was 8th period, and I had typing class 9th period. He didn’t really care if we got back on time, and thus I was in constant hot water with the typing teacher for being late. I did pass the typing class, thankfully. In hindsight I suspect he didn’t like the typing teacher, or considered typing to be a waste of time for a guy, or he was using me to exert faculty power.

    Cool car, by the way.

    Like 6
  19. Bob

    I taught Dri ers ed we used a gremlin

    Like 3
  20. John

    I love the dual steering on this car.

    I went to Hemet high. Our car was a 1966 red Ford Mustang 289, which had donated by a local dealer

    The instructor was in the passenger seat and had brake Control as I remember.

    We got to go on the freeway for that experience.

    I had driven and got off the offramp and Mr. Testoserone got behind the wheel.

    We got back on the freeway in the Banning area.

    I was in the backseat behind the driver
    And my friend was to my right.

    He could see the dashboard and Gauges and I could not.

    We were Cruising the freeway in a dead silent car with the radio off.

    And all of a sudden my friend next to me screams out at the top of his lungs, EIGHTY!!!

    It was out of a Max Sennett comedy after that.

    The instructor wet himself, yelled slow down as the both driver and instructor hit the brakes Launching everybody into the front seats.

    We laughed about it for…days.

    Like 4
    • Phil

      I was driving with the instructor in a dual-brake car. It was raining. I was on the “temporary” 280 freeway (it’s still there, almost 50 years later). Another driver cut right in front of me.
      I got on the brakes.
      Instructor got on the brakes.
      Brakes locked, car swerved.
      I got off the brakes.
      Instructor got off the brakes.
      I got on the brakes.
      Instructor got on the brakes.
      Brakes locked, car swerved.
      I got off the brakes and asked, “Who’s driving, you or me?”
      Instructor got off the brakes.
      I got on the brakes and carried on as if nothing had happened.

      Like 3
  21. John C

    Love the dual steering.

    I went to Hemet high school.

    It was 1966 and the local dealer had donated a red Mustang 289.

    As I recall the instructor had braking control.

    I had driven on the freeway and got off at an off ramp
    Then Mr. Testoserone from the backseat got his chance to drive.

    The radio was off and there was dead silence in the car.

    My friend to the right could see the dashboard and gauges and I could not.

    Then like a Max Sennett comedy

    All of a sudden the silence is broken by my friend to the right with a loud yell of EIGHTY!!!

    The instructor almost wet himself as he yelled slow down, the driver and the instructor both hit the brakes sending everybody into the front seat.

    The three of us laughed for…days
    About that day on the freeway

    Like 7
  22. Neil G.

    Too bad they never made a steering wheel in the back seat of a car as this would have allowed my mother-in-law the opportunity to actually BE a back seat driver.

    Like 17
  23. Rex Kahrs Member

    Back then, in 1974, the classroom part of the Drivers Ed class included the old 16mm gorey crash movies. In our case, the films were taken by the Ohio Highway Patrol and showed actual fatal crash scenes, and were disturbingly graphic. “Wheels of Tragedy” was one I remember.

    I think they should be court-ordered viewing for some of the yodelhead drivers out on the road today.

    Like 14
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      I don’t recall the titles of the films, but yea, OHP, pull the blinds in the room, hope the film doesn’t break…

      There is one image which stands out more than others. In one segment of a fatal crash being investigated at night, a big (Cadillac?) convertible had left the roadway at a high rate of speed. One of the deceased was draped across a large branch in a tree. Ugh.

      Like 5
      • Steve Clinton

        That reminds me of seeing a photo in the local paper when I was a teen of a man who crashed into a telephone pole, was thrown out of the car, and ended up hanging by his neck from one of the footholds. I never complained about wearing seat belts after that!

        Like 3
      • wcshook

        Your mentioning a Cadillac convertible, reminded me of an ambulance run I had back when I was young. A man and his girlfriend, they were both in their 40’s or 50’s, had been drinking and arguing. He pulled out in front of a transfer truck. Ripped the bottom suspension off the truck. Neither one survived.

        Like 1
    • TBAU Member

      Homer had to watch one in a Simpsons episode. The film was called “ Alice’s Adventure Through the Windshield Glass. “

      Like 5
    • JEFF S.

      I grew up in South Gate CA, they played the CHP Red Asphalt PSA, to scare us about drunk driving. I remember we had 71 Plymouth Fury III, big boats that could seat 5 students and the instructor with his brake pedal. I do not remember him using the brake very much. But, I do remember a special trailer that the LAUSD would move around to schools, that had 10 driving simulators, with car mock-ups and video screens. The system monitored speed, braking, turn signal use and lane position. The simulators is where we received most of our training. I remember we did all the in car instruction on Saturdays, for 4 weeks, each student received at least 1 hour behind the wheel, each time, driving all over Southern CA. On the last Saturday, we hit the freeway, what a pucker factor, that was, when some tried to enter the freeway at 40 mph. I am sure the big yellow student driver signs, on the car helped, lol.

      Like 1
  24. Bill D

    Back in the early ’80s my high school didn’t offer behind-the-wheel instruction. My parents paid for lessons for me, and the car I took them in was a GM X-body (Buick Skyhawk, IIRC) that had only an instructor’s brake.

    I don’t know how anyone teaches teenaged kids to drive without completely losing their sanity.

    Like 2
    • Poppy

      I taught all 4 of my sons to drive – no real issues just some funny stories. I was much calmer with them then my wife was, which helped a lot with their nerves.

      Like 2
  25. Classic Steel

    Oh drivers ed..
    Lets just say my school had a new football field and our coach / drivers ed teacher would ride his golf cart over to water and check on it . One can imagine his shape and irony of a gym coach-my freshman year. The school had two cars the one being a 78 two door Cutlas and a 79 monte carlo loaned from local dealers.

    The coach took us on road drives but the new field drew him away many times to allow us to play around with manual shifting the trans , turning fast etc. etc. and basically treating it like a rental car.

    The class was given to mainly drivers legally licensed over a year. My parents living in BFE after retirement helped assisted my driving in country farm lands to friends house at 13. I would drive machinery tractors etc…from 11 and up at my grandparents place.

    The class was fun and we all passed with no visible damage to either car 👍😉
    This got me the ten percent discount on car insurance.

    Like 3
  26. Chris Webster

    Ready for a RHD country.

    Like 1
  27. George

    Shonta Harris was my driver’s ed teacher. One of my favorite teachers in HS. Also tooks Shakespeare with him.

    79 Malibu wagon with extra brake pedal, which he used frequently to teach us how to recover from skids, and learn to drive on snow. He used to set up cones on low traffic roads for us to learn how to do esses, forwards and back!

    30 mph and he’d lock up the brakes on snowy roads.

    Like 5
  28. Howard A Member

    Ha! I knew it, everybody gets a thumbs up. It seems the age group this site attracts, getting our license was right up there with our Bar Mitzvah,( if applicable) graduating HS( just barely, fact is, it was my straight A’s in Dr. Ed that helped me) or getting married, it was a defining moment in our lives. Some, like me, made a life out of driving, but it was top priority for most. Today, in stark contrast, young people have no interest in driving, and who can blame them.
    You know, I said I’d remove the steering wheel, but you know, then it’s just an old Plymouth, this way, think of the comments you’d get at a show. It is a really great find. Thanks all for the stories.
    BTW, I took my road test on my old man’s ’68 Lincoln 4 door. Scotty knows what tanks THOSE are. It was actually a very easy car to drive, and I think the examiner was impressed. By then, I had miles of “driveway time”, so it was a piece of cake. What did you take you test on?

    Like 5
    • Johnny

      Howard, I took my driving test in a duec and a half army truck at Ft Hood,Texas. My instructor was Staff Sgt James Newton (originally from San Antone,Texas. He was real tall and a great man. He told me he was gonna make a truck driver out of me..He was my first driving instructor and it was my first time . Sgt Newton,wherever you are. Thanks and have a great day. That was back in 1969

      Like 7
  29. Autoworker

    We had a girl in the drivers-ed car that when she turned a corner, wouldn’t let go of the wheel. Ran us off the road almost every time. Took my test in a buddy’s 70 GMC sprint, big block 4 speed.

    Like 3
  30. Jay E. Member

    I have recently taught several 20 year olds how to drive. (Don’t know why they waited until 20!). Use an older Taurus. There must be something different to learning today, perhaps it is because the speed of traffic is higher, but lane control and breaking seem to be really difficult for them to master. It takes may, many corrective inputs to the steering wheel or firm SLOW DOWN…NOW! Eventually they seem to get it well enough.
    I don’t ever recall doing that to my parents, but then again I learned in a VW bus. Then it was off to padiddles and diddlepits. And the occasional superdiddle. Nothing was sweeter.

    Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      You got more patience than me, brother. Like I touched on, years ago, operating a machine was natural for us, today, there’s not much that compares to driving and for many, it’s the most difficult thing they may ever do. Waiting until 20 tells me, there just isn’t an interest, until they actually need that license to get to work.

      Like 3
      • Solosolo ken tilly UK Member

        My grandson, now 24, has never had an interest in obtaining his driving licence until now. He is a heavy vehicle diesel mechanic and his employer has bought another Sprinter fitted out with all tools needed for a travelling mechanic. Now he is blaming my daughter for not pressuring him into obtaining his drivers licence years ago. Can’t win!

        Like 4
    • Eric S

      My 17 year old daughter got her license about a year ago. We made her learn on a stick. At first she complained that none of her friends had to learn on a stick. Now she loves it and doesn’t want to drive automatics.

      Like 4
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Great idea.
        My wife had a VW Bug convertible, manual, that we intended to give to our daughter. She was such a timid driver that she refused to even try. When we put it up for sale, a father came to look at it with his daughter – same age as ours – and he was looking for a manual for her to earn on. She seemed disinterested in learning, but he was insistent.

        Like 2
  31. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Great comments (as usual) Howard. I’ve read several articles why young people today put off getting a license. Most conclude that cell phones are a main culprit. Teenagers still want/need to hang out, but they can do it virtually on their phones. Other factors include parents who continue to be willing to be chauffeurs, Uber, more people in cities with public transportation, and this one: they are scared of the responsibility. Yes, more traffic and more speed is intimidating, but how did it be that these teenagers are afraid of taking on this responsibility?? Helicopter parents??

    Which makes this even harder for me to grasp is that, like most of you, I flat-out enjoy driving. Give me a sunny, warm day, with a fun car, windows open and tunes up, cruising rural back roads, not much tops that for me.

    It’s still a fact that this skill is a necessity for the vast majority of Americans.

    Like 9
    • Rex Kahrs Member

      I recall that my daughter, the social butterfly, completed all her required coursework and 50 hours training with a licensed driver (me), and scheduled her road test on her 16th birthday.

      We sat in the waiting room as a lad went out with the examiner, and shortly they returned and the poor guy was crushed for having failed. Next went my daughter, and 10 minutes later she returned with flying colors…it figures, she’s never wrong….. We went immediately to the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) and got the license. From there we went to a storage unit where my ’65 Dart GT was stored for the winter. I drove the Dart back the 30 miles to town with my daughter following on her first solo drive.

  32. Joe Machado

    Since Dad owned a trucking company, I knew how to drive 80,000 pound big rigs before I had a learners permit at 15 1/2 for a car.
    That was early 1960.
    I bought beater, running cars at 12 years old.
    I would drive around our property in the truck, park, parallel, backup, maneuver between, and try to match all alone, every aspect I saw my Dad do.
    We would go to Glendale, Arizona from either Norwalk or Santa Fe Springs, California and he said, if you think you can do it, tell him to stop, I know I got this.
    He would sleep as I drove.
    Another big rig was passing me and it was a two lane blacktop, US Hwy 60 before I-10.
    Well, I got sleepy, put the right side tires in dirt and the ride woke me and Dad.
    He yelled, you fall asleep? I answered, no, that truck came over on me.
    Aw betta now. I stayed awake ever since to this day. Funny now.
    October, 1963, Dad had me drive one from Norwalk to DMV. As I waited, the test person would tell me ahead what he wanted me to do.
    I got 100, and he changed it to 98 and said he cant give a 100 to anyone on the first day. Said my lane positioning would be the reason. I knew that was wrong.
    I taught my son and daughter how to drive on vacations. Hundreds each in 69 Dodge Daytona, 68 Charger RT, 62 Continental Convertible.
    Then taught Grandchildren.
    Never took driver ed in a car. The class was too slow to me.
    The in class, remember a movie, Signal 30.

    Like 4
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Joe Machado,

      Asleep at the wheel?

      It was a few days before Christmas, 1972, and a friend and I had just done 3 days guard duty [2 hours on, 2 hours sleep] to get 10 days off. Totally exhausted, we headed south from Ft. Dix in central New Jersey, in my red 1966 Plymouth Fury Convertible [with a 440 V8].

      I had to drop him off in Leesburg, VA before heading back up to Bethesda, Maryland. We were on Rt 7 just a couple of miles outside of Falls Church, at about 4am. I was driving in the left lane.

      All of a sudden I felt the car contact something on the right side. I quickly realized I had fallen asleep. I pulled over and ran back to the other vehicle, a Datsun pickup. Before I could say anything the lady driving the truck yelled “Are you OK? I’m so sorry, I fell asleep at the wheel!”

      I looked at my car, it had a slight crease in the passenger door, and her truck had some red paint scrapes on the big silver painted rear bumper. We decided in the spirit of the holidays, just to go our merry ways.

      In over 1.5 million miles and almost 50 years since, I’ve never fallen asleep at the wheel again.

      Like 3
  33. Woodsplitter

    I was driving and the coach was our driving instructor. We were from a small town school so we were going to the county seat for some “city” driving. All of a sudden I pulled off on the berm and Coach said, “Hey, Wood, what are you doing?” “I said, don’t you see that wheel coming down the highway in our lane:” Everybody in the car looked up and sure enough a truck had thrown a wheel and it was rolling about 50 miles per hour straight at us. Needless to say, I aced driver’s training right there. That tire and wheel would have wiped us out had I not pulled over when I did and let it roll on by. Phew! That was a close one.

    Like 4
  34. Chris

    When I was 17 and the young girl of 15 who became my wife wanted to learnt to drive, I taught her in my ’59 Bonneville with tri-power and then continued the lessons in my ’55 Chevy with a transplanted 327 4spd. She got quite good at smoking the tires in the Chevy on take off and during the second gear change.

    She needed driver-ed to get the lower insurance rate so she took it even thought she was already quite capable behind the wheel (probably a little too capable).

    Anyway, first time out in the Rambler with three on the tree, she smoked the tires all the way out the parking lot to the surprise, fright and chagrin of the instructor.

    She had fun telling me and we’ve had fun telling others during the next 50 years…

    Like 2
  35. S

    On my driver’s ed car, the instructor just had a brake pedal on his side, nothing else. I remember wanting to “go” and he didn’t want me to, so he held his brake pedal down, while I’m stepping harder and harder on the accelerator, engine revving, and not understanding why the car wasn’t moving!

    The fact that this Plymouth survived and never had the secondary controls removed is amazing itself!

    Like 2
    • Dennis

      That was exactly my experience. I was going to pull out and instructor had brake on. I didn’t know why the car wasn’t moving as I was pushing ever farther on the accelerator. She said I should wait for the car to pass. Ok.

      I had been driving a Ford F150 6-cyl 3-on-the-tree for a year or so on the farm before I turned 16. So, operating the car smoothly was no problem. I remember we went to a low-traffic street and she had me back up a fair distance. She laughed a little and said “You certainly don’t need any help with that.”

  36. charlie Member

    Just after I turned 16 my father took me out in our new ’56 Chevy PowerGlide to teach me to drive. I scared the … out of him, and he signed me up for a private driving school, and wanted me to learn a stick shift. The driving school showed black and white horror movies mostly about accidents. Then in the car, a ’54 Plymouth, like this one, but no dual controls, with HiDrive, a one year, I think, Chrysler Corp transmission which did not require use of the clutch between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, or, 1st and 2nd at all – you could shift to 3rd from a stop (using the clutch) – and then just go. The advantage was you really did not have to learn to feather/slip the clutch. I had spent a lot of time, before going to sleep, in my bed, lying there on my back, using my feet and right arm, practicing shifting with a clutch and 3 on the tree. When I got into the car I drove it smoothly, shifted smoothly (helped I am sure now, by the HiDrive but I did not know it then) and the teacher did not believe I had only driven for 10 minutes before that, in an automatic at that. Anyway I took the prescribed lessons. My father then took me out and had me drive many times, in Philadelphia traffic, from Philly to Boston through New York City, taught me to change a tire, etc. etc. My 3 kids all took Driver’s Ed, two in school, one privately due to class schedules, and then, like father like son, I had them drive our stick Dodge Caravan under my supervision, for hours – they had to do 6 drives into Boston from NH before they were allowed to do it themselves, and had to do lots of snow driving, mall parking lots at night were the best, before they could drive in snow. At the age of 76 I have learned how to drive medium sized fire engines for our volunteer department here in the boondocks of California. And as for the 2nd steering wheel, the ones I saw were connected with what appeared to be a bicycle chain, very simple, this Plymouth may have had one.

    Like 1
  37. David Scully

    Like Herb (‘way above in the comments) in the San Diego area. I took river training at Grossmont HS in 1955. We used a clapped out ’52 Ford 4-door (I remember ugly black paint and battered fenders) with dual controls and a three-on-the tree. In California at that time, you had to take a driver’s license test in a standard shift car – they didn’t sanction automatic transmission cars at that point in driver-license test history. You had to signup for the ride, get your parent’s permission absolving the school district from any damages, and take the class after school hours. Because of demand, usually four kids (one driver, three jammed in the back seat) and the instructor – a part-time substitute teacher (who smelled like a backed-up chimney) sat on the right with a steering wheel and a brake pedal. He had to shake his steering wheel on occasion to ensure the linkage wasn’t binding up, and off we’d go for a few miles of driving locally and on Highway 80 (now US-8). The car was always in repair mode (usually a slipping clutch for some reason, and it was a six-banger, so little joy in trying to spin the rear wheels (see ‘slipping clutch’ above). This pretty little ’54 Mayflower is a much better ride than we had , yet a great reminder of a very different time (like 25-cent gas and 16-cent hamburgers). Oh yeah, in SoCal, parents did not get a discount for their male children getting a driver’s license – what they got was an automatic raise in their policies because we were considered VERY high risk. I had to apply for a separate insurance policy on my own – required by the state – which cost me $327 per year – to cover my ’39 Ford coupe which I paid $25 for at the time. After graduation (1957) i sold the Ford and joined the Army….

    Like 4
  38. Bill Potts

    Took my Driver’s Ed class in a 1966 Chevy Wagon,no power anything. This was in Ohio,and my first time driving,got stuck in a snow drift! We had to parallel park it. Because of that, I could park any car.

  39. Frank

    My story comes from Ohio. Took drivers ed in 1968, and already had my liscense.
    Our car was an early 60’s Green Ford Galaxy and I don’t remember any
    extra brake pedals, etc. Mr. Williams was a great instructor and very patient.
    I also had the role of taking over when one of the newbies messed up and
    He needed a break.
    One day before class, a bunch of kids were around my car looking under the
    hood. Williams came by, checked it out, shook his head and said it’s time
    for class.
    The car was a ’63 Catalina 421 4spd with three 2’s

    Like 4
    • Will Irby

      I would have requested to ride with you in the Catalina rather than with Mr. Williams in the Galaxie (unless maybe the Galaxie was a 427 car..)

  40. oldsoldie

    We had 3 cars for Driver Ed in 62, two Ramblers, one pushbutton automatic and one 3 on the tree and an Olds 88. Mr B set up traffic cones in the parking lot to practice paralell parking which I aced first try. I was from there on a driving star lol First time out on the xway I stepped down on that Olds a bit to get up to speed and when she shifted into 3rd gear and that big torqey V8 pulled us up to 70 in no time flat I was in love with the hydramatic forever.

    Like 1
  41. Steve H

    You opened a “CAN OF WORMS” with this one !!! I took driver’s ed in March of 1970, in a 1970 four-door Impala donated by our local Chevy dealer. It had a brake for the instructor, but not a steering wheel. Later, I taught driver’s ed for two years ( THAT was long enough !! ) we had two Ford Escorts – with a brake on the right side, too. I was paid a little above minimum wage, so I didn’t last too long.

    Like 1
  42. FOG

    I would check for petrified wads of chewing gum hidden in this car.

    Like 2
  43. Dave

    really interesting car, but not one full body pic?

  44. Bill Parker

    Yes I remember high school-based driver’s ed well and wish we could still have it for our grandkids. One of our kids went to a commercial instructor and later told us that he pulled a pint of whiskey out from under the passenger seat for a snort every so often. The kid didn’t tell us before because he knew I would cancel out and send him to another trainer, but our son liked that the this guy was so easy on passing everyone.

    Anyway I did driver’s ed in a ‘66 chevy full size four door hardtop. I don’t remember if it was an Impala, or maybe a Biscayne? It didn’t have dual controls. Actually our teacher, also the baseball coach and a science teacher, was pretty easy going too. But the classroom phase had one of those simulators. A video played and you operated the simulator as it presented various ordinary and emergency situations. For example, while driving along a car pulled out of parallel parking space. Naturally I swerved around it and flunked that one. I should have braked of course.

    Like 3
  45. CopCrasher

    I hit a patch of washboard on a gravel road and the rear end of the ’74 Torino swung out. I didn’t lift at all just steered into it and drifted smoothly through the whole corner. I might of come out of it even faster than I went into it. After we exited the corner, the instructor looked at me and said ” you’ve done that before haven’t you?” My answer was “Yup”.

    Later, another student convinced the same instructor that since congress had mandated the 5 mph bumpers he should test them. I watched as H.L. drove one Torino into another in the parking lot. Both cars were %@$#ed up. That still crackes me up!

    Like 6
  46. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Angel……. (1972, Bridgewater, NJ)
    I don’t think we had Drivers Ed in my high school. I learned to drive on the farm at age 11, on a 1950s English Hillman with a 4 on the tree. Not a typo, 4 on the column.
    I had to apply for my learner’s permit 3 or 4 months before my 17th birthday. My parents had to “teach” me on public roads. On my 17th birthday, I went to NJMV, took the written test and got my 1st drivers license, on my Moms 1970 Checker Marathon. Immediately drove over to where my father worked and picked up the 1961 Buick Invicta convertible and drove it to summer school.
    By the looks of it, we all on Barn Finds had to go to summer school.
    But the way people drive nowadays, I don’t think there is a drivers Ed or private driving schools. People just do what they want. Like make a right hand turn from the left lane, or come to a complete stop on a busy freeway so they don’t miss their turnoff.
    Lord help us!

    Like 3
    • Steve Clinton

      The biggie is never coming to a stop, regardless if there’s a stop sign or not!

      Like 2
    • JEFF S.

      I owned a 1951 Jowett Jupiter, from 1964 to 1977. It had 4 on the tree, that you pushed a button on the shift lever, to get reverse. I traded a 1962 Impala, that I had purchased for just $150. I was in the USAF on the east cost and the car was in Bakersfield, CA. Sold it for $1,200. Used the money to buy a brand new 1977 MGB. I wish I would of kept the Jupiter, they are worth north of $70K, today.

      Like 2
      • Solosolo Solosolo UK Member

        I had an Austin Westminster 105 with 4 on the tree where I had to pull out the knob on the end of the gear lever, in order to select reverse, the same with my Hillman Minx. Ken Tilly UK.

        Like 2
  47. Steve Clinton

    Here’s my driver’s training story…
    I took Driver’s Ed at 15 (a required course in California) and had ‘behind the wheel’ training in a 1965 Rambler Ambassador (don’t laugh). The first day out, the instructor (one of the high school teachers) took us out on Carbon Canyon Road, which went from Brea to Chino on a winding mountainous type road. Unfortunately, the instructor was hard to understand (we called him ‘mush mouth’ behind his back) and as I made the descent down into Chino I didn’t understand his comment to slow it down and almost ended up in the ivy (or worse). Scared me to death. It’s a wonder I recovered and went on to love the driving experience!

    Like 2
  48. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Took school-based Driver’s Ed in 1977 at a private school in MA. Yep, instructor was a coach (probably the only ones who could tolerate it for the meager amount I’m sure they got paid). It was after school, so no escape from learning, but still fun if you were into cars like I was.
    Car was super-exciting – a Volare.

    Like 1
  49. Johnmloghry Johnloghry

    It was 1962 when I took drivers ed. The high school provided the class. Dodge Lancer 4 door was the car, white with red interior, 6 cylinder three speed manual, column shifted. Full controls on both sides except excellerator. The instructor had steering wheel, clutch and brake pedal on the right side of car. Three students per car. I had already learned how to drive a manually shifted car when I was 8 y.o. My dad taught me in his 48 Dodge.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  50. NW Iowa Kevin

    My Driver’s Ed was during the summer of 1973. My best friend Don and I were farm kids so we already knew how to drive. Not at all remembering what the car was but, likely a Chevy. The other person in the class of three was a girl from the local Christian school. She was a 10+ in our eyes and very distracting! We made a deal, Don and I, with the instructor that if we did well and behaved, we’d teach him how to drive a tractor, an Oliver 1755 diesel. We’d sit on the fenders and……we did much better driving the Chevy than he did the tractor but eventually he got it down pat, forward only. Neither of us dared stand behind while he backed up to hook up a wagon.

    Like 4
  51. Kenn

    Jay E, amazing it was so hard for your students to master “breaking” since most young drivers have no problem with that at all! Now, maybe “braking” was difficult for them to master…! I learned to drive at age 12 in a Model A Ford, in the back woods of Northern Michigan. learned early on to judge distance as the trees were often close to the two-track on which I drove so many miles. Fun times.

    Like 2
    • Steve Clinton

      C’mon Kenn, give the poor guy a brake!

      Like 1
  52. Bob Member

    1967 Ford Falcon, second brake with four sweaty guys and the instructor in Mid Atlantic coast August. Automatic six cylinder no AC. No fun.

    Like 1
  53. Stuart Richter

    I took driver’s ed in 1960. Don’t even remember the car, a Chevy I think. By the end I thought that my name was “SLOW DOWN RICHTER”. My partner in crime, a young lady, drove into a snow bank. That’s all I remember. Don’t even remember going for my test to get my license. Still have it 60 years later with one ticket.

    Like 2
  54. UncleCmack

    My DrED car was a calf-scour yellow Plymouth Reliant with a brake for the teacher. We were only allowed to listen to Cubs baseball and he smoked a pipe during the drives, when he wasn’t asleep. I had already had a work/school permit for over a year, before I had DrEd, driving my 76 Silverado with a 454.

    Like 1
  55. Parkerdo

    The brake pedal in our driver’s ed car was called “the chicken brake” for obvious reasons. 1963 Mercury Comet, 4 cyl, 3 on the tree. Was a nightmare when you were required to park on a hill, set the parking brake and then “try” to ease out on the clutch and move out of the parking space without rolling backward. I understood the clutch/engine relationship, most did not, especially the young ladies.

    Like 1
  56. JoeNYWF64

    If the passenger side had an accelerator pedal, could you legally right hand drive the car in Australia?
    Imagine how nuts people would go over this car – in Cuba.
    If pulled over for speeding with a driver AND passenger in the car, if there were 2 accelerator pedals, who would get the ticket? I bet BOTH – 2 tickets – double the fine/profit.
    Are there 2 master cylinders & 2 steering boxes on this car? If not, the linkages to the driver’s side ones must be inSANE! lol
    I remember seeing 1 & only 1 concept car from the ’50s that had a steering wheel that could swing up over to the passenger side! – the name escapes me.

    Like 1
  57. CopCrasher

    My favorite scare’em straight drunk driving 16mm was the one where the drunk hit the end of a guard rail which came through the firewall, severed his head, punched through the back window and left it atop the twisted up guard rail behind the car. Second only to to the IIRC drunk hits a pedestrian and they collect the pedestrian off a wall with spatulas. I tried to find them on Youtube but did not. If anyone does find them please post a link.

  58. Johnny

    When I was stationed in Norfolk ,Va between 1976-78. I used to drink and drive alot. One night a car load of drunken sailors hit some people waiting on a bus. A woman was thrown through the windshield and the cops got him stopped a good ways down the road. He never remember hit them. I got to thinking it happened to me alot. I couldn,t remember when I drank to much and it could have happened to me. It sobered me up.After that. I,d catch a bus or cab into Ocean View. Get a room at the motel close to this laudramat and The Sportman,s Bar. Then I would drink. I,d leave my vehicle at the base. Best descion I made. Then in 1981 I quit it all together.

    Like 4
  59. Johnny

    The bib is up to $16,600 !!!! I wonder how many times the owner had people to bid on it to get it high? A business man hear auctipned a bunch of his property off. It all sold really high. Later on–he still owned it. He had paid people to bid on it.Hoping to sicker people in. It did not work and when he died it was left to his kids. I cannot see how or why this car would reach that high. I could see maybe $4-$5,500-never $16,600. Did Marlyn Monroe set in it? Someone is gonna loose big time hear.

    Like 1
  60. Mike Kauppi

    I learned to drive a tractor on the farm as soon as my legs could reach the break and clutch pedal, and then my folks started letting me drive the ’55 chevy at about age 13, with them in the car, of course. By the time I took Driver ed in 1963 (to help lower insurance rates), I pretty much knew how to drive, and the instructor could see that. So rather than go thru all the usual training stuff, my instructor would have me run him around town (Winsted, CT) to do his errands. The car was a 1962 Ford Galaxi (I think), 4dr, auto, with the straight 6 cyl. No dual controls at all.

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars

      I was already neighborhood driving my parent’s Corvairs and my first car, a 1959 Ford Galaxie Sunliner ahead of my driver’s ed class. So, like you the instructor would have me run him around town to the school’s motor pool service area about ten miles away with other students in the back of the ugly 74 Torino sedan. He knew I could drive. I also won favor when me and a couple other classmates got to ride with a local state trooper to observe how they handled traffic citations. Oh, how things have changed since the 70s!

      Like 1
  61. Mountainwoodie

    Gee Fellas.I feel left out. I never took Drivers Ed. At 16 I got my license in Connecticut……1970………………my Dad taught me…………in a ’65 Buick wagon. I taught myself stick and usually own them unless it an old Caddie, Lincoln from the Sixties. Of course my Woodie and my C-10 have stick as do my my everyday old BMW’s.

    All that said is there any homelier car than a ’54 Belvedere or Cranbrook?, Though I do dig the color scheme. Hire a midget to drive the car from the left side, while you sit on the right, hands off the wheel waving to folks. When you have nothing else to do :)

    Like 3
    • Johnny

      Better yet,put a dog their

      Like 1
  62. Mark

    I learned to drive in in a 1954 Belvedere! When I was 12, Dad said if I could fix the brakes I could have it! Got a master cylinder kit and when the school bus stopped at my house, my buddies got off and push started it and we were off! Ended when I hit the blade of a road grader with a sleeping driver. The stuff we did in rural Oklahoma in the 70’s was Awesome! If it was cheaper it would be mine! Great memories

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      Mark, I’m confused. If your 54 was in the family already, why did you have to push start it? Dad didn’t give you a key with it? Presume you started driving after doing the master cylinder so was there no way to stop when that errant road equipment came toward you?

      • JEFF S.

        I had several cars with a manual trans before fuel injection, that the starters went bad. Had to push start all of them at one time or another, until payday, when, I could afford to replace the starter motor. With fuel injection and computers, you cannot push start them, like in the good old bays, if the starter or battery was the problem.

        Like 2
  63. Little_Cars

    Mark, I’m confused. If your 54 was in the family already, why did you have to push start it? Dad didn’t give you a key with it? Presume you started driving after doing the master cylinder so was there no way to stop when that errant road equipment came toward you?

    • Howard A Member

      Back then, by golly ( stretching suspenders), you didn’t need a key, a hot lead from the battery to the coil, and if you didn’t have something to jump the starter, a push was all that was needed, and with 7.5 to 1 compression, it didn’t take much. Fact is, 50’s GM’s had a “lock”position on the key, and the key could be removed in the “off” position, and wasn’t needed to start the car.

      Like 2
      • Little_Cars

        I understand all that and have done the same procedure myself. I was just asking why the family car didn’t come with a key as it was handed down. Sounded like all it needed was its brakes fixed. Sorry for the double post…BF doubled all of my comments yesterday for some reason. But hey, we have our editing ability restored for four minutes now!

      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


        Even today I’m amazed at the hubris GM had towards the public’s safety and well-being. The company continued [thru the 1967 model year] to sell vehicles to the public, with ignition locks that allowed anybody with access to the inside of the car, to start [and steal] ANY GM manufactured vehicle made between 1935 and 1967.

        In over 50+ years of playing & working with cars, I’ve only met a few people who knew this, and [surprise!] they were all locksmiths!

        Here’s another interesting tid-bit concerning the GM keys; I have a complete set of “Master keys” that allow me to lock/unlock ALL GM vehicles 1935-67. The keys are not special keys, just regular GM Delco keys. The “Key” to having this set is the simple fact that GM only had a grand total of 35 possible code sets [out of the many thousands of possible numerical settings on the 5 cylinder pins].

        That’s right — GM only used a total of 35 different key numbers for all their vehicles, during a span of over 30 years!!!

        All a locksmith has to know are the 5 pin settings for those 35 different keys GM used, and a locksmith can create those 35 different keys, giving him a master set.

        Or you can do what I did and save all the GM keys that fit those locks, and put together a complete set. Since at the time [late 1970s thru the 1980s] I was a frequent visitor to junkyards, I grabbed every GM door or ignition key I could find.

        Putting together my first set took only a few months, and I made quite a few more sets for sale to people I knew in the car repair business. I sold each set for about $100, equal to the cost of 2 to 3 visits by a locksmith to pick a car’s ignition or door lock.

        As a locksmith once told me, he always changed the ignition key pins on HIS OWN GM cars or trucks [an easy job for any locksmith] to numbers that WERE NOT part of the 35 key numbers for the set.

        I still have a complete set of those 35 keys on a large key ring, and it sits in the top tray of my big tool box. Lately I’ve been thinking about what the set might bring at an ebay auction!

        Like 2
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Bill, I remember that, if you could get grandpas key, it probably worked in other cars, as well. It was just a different time, auto theft just wasn’t a concern, and with the amount of cars GM sold, they figured, what were the chances of 2 people having the same ignition in the same area.

      • Will Irby

        I worked at a small independent repair shop in the summer of ’76 between college semesters. At the end of the day, we locked the keys inside every car sitting on the lot waiting for service, and just used a slim jim to get into the cars when it was time to pull them into the shop. That wouldn’t work today. Oh, we also had a mountain of catalytic converters behind the shop that we had removed because they were clogged so badly they prevented the vehicles from running. That wouldn’t fly today either.

        Like 1
      • JEFF S.

        I liked the Ford double key. Any time I owned a Ford or Lincoln, I would have a new key made with one side ignition and one side door, so I could use one key. My new 2020 Ford Edge has a key fob, that lets you walk up to the car and as long as you have it in your pocket, it unlocks the car, when you place your hand around the door handle. I am sure the car thieves, have figured out how to duplicate these key fobs, and steal a car. It is crazy Ford has hidden a key on my Edge, so that if your battery goes dead, you can use it to get into the car, but you still need a key fob to drive the car away. I guess all the car makers think, just like the police, if your car is stolen or broken into, just file a claim with your insurance.

        Like 1
      • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

        Ford did the same thing. Back in 1968 while working at the Boeing 747 plant outside Everett, Washington, I owned a 64 Ford Custom 500, a coworker owned a 63 Thunderbird. I had read that they only made a certain amount of different keys, so one night after shift end, I decided to try my key in my friends car, to my amazement it not only opened the door but also started his car. He was not amused when he arrived a couple minutes later, but agreed to try his key in my car, but it didn’t work. Perhaps one of our keys was slightly worn so it only worked on said car.
        God bless America

        Like 1
  64. Patrick Drew Farmer

    Why would you want to buy an old car with several layers of ancient pee soaked into the seat. Both sides of the seat because you know at one time he had to have a student like the test drive driver, Michael Talbott, in the movie “Used Cars” who sole aim was to croak the old man owner by driving just like hell.

    • Howard A Member

      “Peetina” is the next big thing coming out of California,,I heard.

      Like 2
  65. John Penoyer

    My driver’s ed car was a 70 Fire Fairmont. Although it had a second brake pedal the instructor wanted to teach the kids in the back a lesson about wearing their seatbelts, so he told me to drive across the parking lot at 5 moh and then he had me spike the brakes. All 3 of them slammed into the back of the front seat and I cracked up. Best day in class ever!

    Like 1
  66. Jim Benjaminson

    Dad was my instructor – the school had driver training classes only – no behind the wheel. Years later I got to participate in the Southern Michigan Law Enforcement Driver Training on the Chrysler Proving Grounds at Chelsea, Michigan. Not a high speed course but one designed to keep you out of trouble, to learn how to maneuver a car in different situations. They could duplicate any road conditions including slippery ice in the middle of August. The cars were set up so the instructor had a control module in his hand – he could lock any brake on it to send you into a spin. Having grown up on North Dakota ice, I was pretty smug – he put me into a skid, I brought it out, no problem – he did it again, so did I. All of a sudden the car was spinning in circles. He looked at me and said, “I put you in the first skid, you saved it, I put you in the second skid and you saved it again. I saw that smug smile on your face so I put you into the third one when you didn’t expect it!” I had a great appreciation for seat and shoulder belts when it was all over. I believe his name was Lt. Emerson. Fun ride, sir! Wish my kids could have taken the course.

    Like 6
    • Little_Cars

      When I bought my first and then a second MINI Cooper, the dealership promoted a driver’s course taught by racers. Everyone in my circle of friends thought they were hot stuff after taking those controlled road courses. Sounds similar to what you are talking about, Jim — except far more drifting than I would ever want to do with a pricey new $35k machine riding on runflat tires.

      Like 1
  67. Phil

    The City issued me a brand-new Corsica when I ran the residential-rainleader-disconnection program. The driver seat made my tailbone hurt. The boss, an ex-military Irish-Cajun, was annoyed when I told him I didn’t want the car. He said I’d have to drive one of the old crappy Pontiac Phoenix cars we got from the State. The Phoenix suited me fine. It started no matter how cold it was in the Public Works lot.

    • Little_Cars

      @ Phil What exactly is a residential-rainleader-disconnection ? Sounds ominous to me.

  68. Retired teach

    Summer of 1973 as a teacher the school district would hire teachers to do Summer maintenance and that Summer I was a painter. At J.B Conant in Hoffman Estates, Ill (Chicago Burbs) the drivers ed cars for Summer school that year were 1973 Boat tail Riveria’s brand new from the local dealer. They had 5 of them at least. Imagine being a H.S. 16 year old learning how to drive in a new Boat tail. The had a instructors brake pedal and at the end of the Summer were sent back to the Buick zone office (which was in the local area) to be sold as “demos” with area dealers. Those kids did not know how lucky they were. Part 2 of Drivers ed. Our son who was 16 and had a job delivering part for a local Mercedes dealer using a big cargo van. Hisboss came to him and told him he need to have a Mercedes convert picked up from a local hospital and brought back to the dealer for some work that day. Our son just about did back flips—then his boss said he would be taking a Suzuki tracker over to the hospital to pick up the Mercedes to bring it back to the dealer. The boss then asked him if he knew how to drive stick shift as the Suzuki was a 4 speed—-some one else did the errand and within a week he learned how to drive a stick shift. That opportunity did not happen again all Summer long.

  69. Joe Machado

    Oh the keys.
    I would arrive in parking lot of Georgia Pacific in Buena Park. I drove the big rigs.
    The forklift driver there, had a 66 Mustang convert and a 63 Vette.
    He and I always parked beside each other.
    I parked my Daytona and he shows up in Vette. He gets out and says, crap, I locked my keys in ignition.
    I said, well, I only have one key, for my Mopar, so, no way.
    He says, try it. Ok, well, GM keys are teeth down and Mopar teeth up. I put the Daytona key in his door, wella, it opened. We stood and stared at each other as if we will wake up from this dream.
    I tried his ignition and no workie, even though his would do his door and ignition. His key would not open my door or ignition.
    Odds dont exist for that to happen.
    I never took his car

    Like 1
    • Jim Benjaminson

      My buddy had a ’48 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 that we drove to college. That summer I was working for the local Plymouth dealer and he stopped by to visit. I was driving my college car – a ’54 Pontiac Chieftan. Curt’s Caddie had a well worn key which was noted as starting a lot of cars in town. He proudly announced-with a grin on his face-that “with this key, I shall start that car”, pointing to my ’54. Yep, the Poncho fired right up. So I figured turn about was fair play. I tried the keys to my ’54 in his ’48 Caddie – no luck. Then I tried the keys to my Dad’s new ’68 Bonneville Pontiac. Ignition key? Nope. Trunk key? Yes! I don’t know which one of us was more surprised.

      Like 1
  70. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    125th Comment.
    I’ve enjoyed reading every one.
    That may be a barn Finds record.

    Like 2
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      The system ate my last installment…

      Not sure why…

      Like 1
      • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

        And again today.

        BF *could* contact me directly about the problem, but nothing.


        But I *can* post and edit this.
        Just not my contribution to the field of Driver’s Ed, or teen safety….

      • Howard A Member

        That happens to me sometimes, DDB. I think you may have written a word the “system” deems unacceptable, and the comment doesn’t register.

  71. Johnny

    $12,954 and still never reached the reserve? Somebody must want a car awful bad. I wonder what the actual real price they will get out of it. Alot of these nids never pay off and I look for that hear. Their,s nothing –or at least to proof–of why the price would be that high. I,d like to hear the end story will be.Take the extra steering wheel off and drive it in the summer and enjoy it. I,m not paying what Hagerty or Jackson says its worth and look at it in a temperature control room. Drive it. Its what its made for.

    Like 1
  72. Richard Thomas Daugird

    Back when I took it in the 80s, the instructor would randomly come by your house, in case you wanted to practice. I was on the mower drinking a beer, and the instructor said, “I guess you aren’t going to practice today…”

  73. Harit Trivedi

    I’m very late with this comment. I have three such cars in India, with 2 steering wheels, a Beetle in Goa, A Canadian Ford Modet T of about 1922 and a Vauxhall Viva of the 1960’s. These must have been local conversions.

    Like 2
    • Solosolo Solosolo Member

      Welcome aboard Harit, better late than never!

      Like 1

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